Another 0300 wake up came and instead of bouncing out of bed I rolled off the couch cushions on the floor. One of the girls, Patient 0, had gotten the flu and I was not about to share a bed with her. My lungs hurt, my body hurt, and all I could think was sonofabiscuit. I was going to will my way through this thing if I had to. Apparently I wasn’t the only one. Bourbon’s Mom was
After getting dressed, loaded on the buses, dropped off, and going through security I said good bye to the other girls, including Patients 0&1 and made my way towards my corral. The initial plan had been for Patient 0 to catch up to the other 2, as she is normally the faster runner (who forgot to submit her time) but given her state we weren’t even sure if she was going to make it. (Spoiler alert; she does.)
Unless you are in one of the first corrals expect a walk. A very LONG walk. Must have easily covered a mile or more just to get to my corral. I stood in there stretching and talking to the other girls and I saw the 3 hour pacer. No. Just no. Last half I finished in 2:51. I need to stay in front of her. I saw 2:45 in the next corral up. Mentally I took note. Must. Catch. Them. Corral A started and I broke out my inhaler. The girl next to me started to chuckle. “You too?” We laughed and started swapping stories about running with asthma. I think the folks around us were a little horrified. Hey, when you are a platypus and you find another platypus you stop and chat!
We finally crossed the start line around 6 and I just put one foot in front of the other. For the first several miles I was passing a ton of people. I checked my pace on Coconut and, no, I wasn’t going out too fast. I just kept chugging along.
All of the walkers on the left could have pissed me off, but rather than even waste energy on that I just moved off into the dirt. Not only is it what I like running on better but it also had the added bonus of letting me not have to weave around people. Weaving is bad. It wears you out and adds to your miles. Did I mention how much I prefer riding in the dirt?
That’s probably one of the biggest take always for me this weekend. I much MUCH prefer the dirt. Mentally this weekend has been exhausting. Running on pavement doesn’t leave me at peace the way running on dirt does. Yes, I can go faster on pavement, but wow I didn’t remember/realize the true difference until this weekend.
This race was a struggle for me mentally. This was my second morning of getting up at 0300, getting on the bus, standing in the corral for over an hour, etc. It’s all just draining. The good news is that along parts of the course there are plenty of spectators.
Then there were parts of the course where there was not a soul. Mentally I was struggling. Mile 9-11 were especially hard. I was in pain. I just wanted to stop and walk. I knew though if I did that getting going again was going to be hard. I just kept counting the miles. Digging deep when you are in a dark place and running solo is not easy. Guess it’s a good thing I’m stubborn.
Mile 12 had an overpass. Now granted I train on hills with way more incline than that. I eat hills like that. Yesterday after all of the concrete and pavement my hip flexor was just miserable. I broke down and walked the incline. Probably my lowest point in the race. The last full mile was run in Epoct and had a ton of turn arounds. When you’re in pain making those sharp U turns hurts even more.
Making the sharp S turn towards the finish I looked down at Coconut for the first time since the first mile. My jaw fell slack. I was going to finish sub-2:45. By a lot!!! I crossed the line in 2:33. That’s an 18 minute difference off of my last half time.
Now, I know full well that my next race will be right back to me being at the bottom of the pack. For now, though, I will cherish my top 20% in my age and top 22% overall placement. I’m also going to enjoy my 11:07 pace. That’s not bad. I still have a great deal of work to do, but it’s progress.
First race of the season. Check.
First double back race. Check.
First step towards the Endurnace Challenge Utah 50k. Check.
Lots of bling? Check!!